More than 600 farmers are to benefit from a newly established maize processing facility at Nsuta in the Sekyere Central District.
The farmers, according to the Minister of Trade and Industry, Alan Kyerematen, would supply the facility with their maize and be paid dividends as beneficial owners of the company.
Established at a cost of GH¢6.7 million, he said, the factory was funded by government with support from the African Development Bank (AfDB).
Inaugurating the Board of the company yesterday at Nsuta, he noted that the maize processing factory was one of five common-user processing facilities established in selected areas where farmers engaged in the same commodity value chains but lacked facilities to process the outputs from their farming operations.
The others, he stated, were sited at Tarkwa-Dompim in the Western Region, Savelugu at Northern Region, Sefwi Akotombra at Western North and Nkrah Nkwanta at Bono East Region.
Mr Kyerematen explained that the common-user processing facilities model were developed to enable farmers and other agricultural value chain actors, with little or no financial capacity, to establish their own factory to process their farm products.
“The government designed this model so that we do not leave out districts and communities that have so far not attracted investors in the industrialisation drive.
The common-user processing facility gives farmer-based organisations the opportunity to own a company, supply it with their produce and financially benefit from the company’s operations,” he stated.
The Nsuta maize processing facility, Mr Kyerematen noted was equipped with the capacity to process between four to five tonnes of dry maize, and five tonnes of maize grits per day respectively.
He said the processing plant installed at the factory included a maize Drying Plant and a Grit Milling Machine.
The minister advised the nine-member board to be strategic in operationalising the company to ensure the intended benefits were realised.
He said the government was focused on meeting its target set under the One District One Factory (1D1F) programme with 300 projects spread across the country.
He indicated that 55 out of the 300 1D1F projects were sited in the Ashanti with 26 already operationalised while work on the rest were at various stages of completion.
The Country Director of the AfDB, Eyerusalem Fasika, said the bank was committed to the success of the common-user processing facilities in ensuring that farmers across Ghana benefited fully from their produce.
She said Ghana’s industrialisation drive was in line with the bank’s strategy to enhance productivity, promote value addition and create jobs for teeming youths.
She called on the managers of the facility to initiate an effective maintenance culture for the factory to prolong its efficiency.
The Board Chairman, Sampson Boateng, pledged the board’s readiness to work with all stakeholders to ensure returns on investments in the facility.
He said the farmers in the community had longed for a processing factory that would enable storage of produce and increased revenue from trade or produce.
FROM CLAUDE NYARKO ADAMS, NSUTA